October 11th, 2000, 07:39 AM
sorry Tolkien fans
I like many of you started reading Fantasy through the work of Tolkien and I like many of you enjoyed it. But as time went on regardless of so call copy cats.. I realized Tolkien wasnt the best. For example the lengthy parts on the ents. It took me 3 days to read that chapter.. I couldnt stand them.. they were slow in EVERYTHING. OH and a lot of people complain about things being unrealistic and stuff... Explain to me how HOBBITs can defeat a great evil such as Sauron? Not ONE gets killed. The only main charactor from the party to get killed was Boromir.. and he was a traitor. Granted the book never really had any "happy" sentiments to it.. it just wasnt real enough for me. Frodo and Pippen shouldnt be able to sneak into the backdoor of Mt. Doom and defeat Sauron. Although I have read only read maybe 6 fantasy series LoTRs is not in the top half. Yes he gets credit for originality and being the creator.. but to say the authors of now arent more entertaining reads is simply not true. OH and I couldnt stand that guy who the party met in the woods.. his name is thomas something right?
dont be confused by the name... I dont give LoTRs an A+.. being the first and being the best dont necessarily go hand in hand..
October 11th, 2000, 09:17 AM
I don't agree with you totally Saruman. It is indeed Tolkiens imagination and originality that makes him the GREATEST fantasy writer to have lived. Face it, when it comes to pure TALENT Tolkien has yet to meet his equal.
The same applies to all of our great writers through history(Tolstoj ,Shakespear, Homeros etc). We have all read better books and stories than those provided by the authors above. But does that make the authors less great??? I think not. It was the originality of these authors that made them immortal. And to say that originality doesn't make Tolkien great, well that's just wrong. In many cases originality does equal talent. This is the case of Tolkien. It takes a certain amount of talent to "make up" a whole world consisting of other races and make it credible. And to be the first one to do it..... Well let's just say it requries a lot of talent. Every fantasy writer today has other fantasy works to read and to take ideas from and based on this eventually devolop their own writing style. Tolkien had no one.
Tolkien (if anyone) was a pioneer. He has founded the definition fantasy. Ok,ok there are others but Tolkien is the core of modern fantasy.
Tolkien was a storyteller and a big fan of norse mythology and legends. ( yes, a lot of elements from Lothr are taken from norse mythology) He was in fact a scholar.
I have to agree with you that I have had more enjoyable reads through the years since I've read Tolkien. But Tolkien is the most talented fantasy writer I know of.
My whole argument is based on that "talent DOESN'T equal pure enjoyment".
What I mean is: Just because I enjoy a book doesn't mean the writer is talanted. (And the other way around)
October 11th, 2000, 10:01 AM
Guarded by the Moon
I would agree with Alex, that Tolkien had a great talent and he was a great author, who was a pioneer of fantasy. But does it makes him the greatest? Yes, the world of Tolkien is very complex and he almost made the genre of fantasy, but why does this count for greatness and things like originality and style that is more easy to read doesn't. Why the more realistic characters and plot doesn't count? I think those things are important in books, as well. What is real criteria of greatness of author? I don't think there is one, and I don't think that if there were all the people would agree. So for some Tolkien is the greatest and for some he is not depending on their criteria. I don't think we can do anything about it...
October 11th, 2000, 12:31 PM
Just a quiet suggestion guys:
If you're going to post spoilers, please warn in the message title or the start of your posting. There are a lot of people starting out in fantasy on this board that probably don't want to know which members of the fellowship die before they read the LOTR.
October 11th, 2000, 09:55 PM
Well Alex your a Star Trek fan... I like Babylon 5..
I state again.. we you were blind to fantasy and picked up several books not knowing which was created first/copied/ripped off.. Would LoTRs be the best fantasy novel? Answer that honestly. I know not as an opionion but as a fact most people would not pick LoTRs, your so biased towards tolkien you critize others for what tolkien does also. Death Gate cycle had excellent world building but no one puts it up there with LoTRs. And not every fantasy needs to have a chapter explaining "the world".. i mean some fantasys do a good job of world building by just goin along with the story and you pickin up bits and pieces of info. It took me 5 months to read those 3 books because I couldnt read one chapter at a time because i kept loosing interest. The ents alone took me about 5 days. Yeah i'm exaggerating a little but it wasnt a serious that made me stay up late at night or turn off the tube and start reading. I didnt start to "love" fantasy until Death gate and dont give me that "OH well that explains it. Death Gate is a lower level fantasy" because thats not true. Death Gate was fairly deep but never lost the entertainment value and it was the opposite of LoTRs inturn that so called "gods" went to a inferior plan and almost end up dying after suffering unspeakable hardships to get there. Realistically Haplo's struggle had a chance of success infact before he started he had a very high chance of success. Bilbo's struggle on the other hand had no chance at all.. he has no power in anything.. he isnt like Tyrion who atleast has wit. I'm sorry but LoTRs holds no interest to me.. in the beginning it was Ok, in the middle it was ok, but the end i was disappointed in. But I'll still watch the movie..
October 11th, 2000, 11:49 PM
First of all I have a question.
Who are we to judge wether a fantasy novell is good or bad????
I respect that you find the Death Gate cycle better than Tolkiens Lothr. But can you really compare the two different series???
It annoys me that you find it a setback that Bilbo & Company / Frodo & company seems to have no chance at all of completing their missions. I think that you focus entirely to much on the te would be "main" character (that would be Frodo) in the book but the thing is that in Lothr there is no one main character. So to say that Frodo had no chance at all to complete his mission because he doesn't posess any extrodanary abilities, well he didn't have to complete his mission by himself. He had his friends and allies helping him along the way.
I think many people enjoyed the book just because Frodo (a "helpless little fellow with almost no supernatural abilities at all)got to be the hero. It mainly illustrates that you don't have to be the biggest one to be brave, you don't have to know how to fight to be a hero and last but most important you can achieve anything, no matter how small or dumb you are, if you just put your heart into it.
And to say that Frodo is less of a hero than Haplo just because Haplo has certain "powers" is just silly. Rather I would say it's the other way around, Frodo is the greater hero just because of this. He has no power worth mentioning and yet he fights for what he thinks is right even though the odds of him making it are close to zero. There is a sensemoral in Lothr if you just look for it.
I also want to mention again that I have had much more enjoyable reads than Lothr but that doesn't make Lothr less great.
And last I would like to quote you Saruman:
"Realistically Haplo's struggle had a chance of success infact before he started he had a very high chance of success. Bilbo's struggle on the other hand had no chance at all.. he has no power in anything.."
If you want realism in your books then you're reading the wrong genre......
October 12th, 2000, 03:30 AM
October 12th, 2000, 08:04 AM
WARNING: This post contains a spoiler (with respect to Eventine and other posters).
Well, personally I think the main theme of Tolkien's LotR was the power of an individual's humanity. It's interesting to note that Frodo achieved his quest not through great feat of arms or bravado, though it may be argued that those things did play a small role. Rather, he completed his quest because of his humane compassion for another life, namely that of the wretched Smeagol Gollum. As David Day wrote in his book 'Tolkien's Ring', the only reason why the One Ring was destroyed was because Frodo allowed Smeagol to live and even redeem himself by helping him and Sam accomplish their mission, even though he had good cause to kill the evil creature. At the end, Frodo's compassion cost him his finger when Smeagol betrayed him one last time to seize the Ring from him. But his betrayal ultimately resulted in the destruction of the One Ring.
My point is, the reason why many people see Tolkien as one of the greatest writers of the genre is not only due to aspects such as originality, plot composition, characters, world building and so forth, but also because his work deals with many real moral issues which some contemporary authors refuse to touch, probably fearing that their stories will end up more like Aesop's fables rather than action-packed adventures.
While Tolkien should not be put on a pedestal at the expense of other authors' credibility, his contribution to the enrichment of our literary culture should be acknowledged, and not rudely insulted without first considering the full scope of his gift to us.
October 12th, 2000, 09:47 AM
wow. I can't believe anyone thinks the death Gate Cycle is better than Lord of the Rings. Wow. To each his own, I suppose. I enjoyed Death Gate cycle. It was a fun read. While it is easily Weiss and Hickmann's best work, it wasn't LotR.
I'm a little surprised that one of the main indicators of the quality of a book si the death of a main character. Odd.
I don't believe lotR can be evaluated on its own. The book was meant to work in conjunction with the Hobbit and the Silmarillion. Anyone who reads those books could never question the death of heroes, as many die in the hobbit, and EVERYONE winds up dying in the Silmarillion.
The depth and breadth of Middle Earth is downright humbling. Three actual languages, two alphabets, a num,ber of races with unique cultures, based on historical examples. It should be noted that comparing LotR to pop fiction isn't really possible anyway, sine LotR is acutally classic literature, not pop culture writing. I'm not saying one style is better than another, just different, even though they deal with similar subjects.
Death Gate is written in the vernacular/modern slang. Of course it will be an easier read. LotR is written in high literary english, which is a bit harder to read. Is quentin Tarrantino a better playwright than shakespeare? No. They're not really comparable. this is the same kind of situation.
October 12th, 2000, 11:01 AM
::slight spoilers ahead::
AGain I think some of you missed the point. I am not taking anything away from the work and what not he put into the books or the fact that he shouldnt be credited. I have read almost Every post on every thread and I see the same thing. "This Series didn't have the same realism as Tolkien" or "This seriens is no Tolkien", "There will never be another Tolkien". The only reason why that is is because you people have it boggled in your minds that there never will be and in doing so your being unfair to the writers of today. And I'm not basing my opionion upon just a main characor dying but the fact that NONE of the main charactors dying is kinda odd considering the odds they were up against. Realism as far as being "fantasy" should be a little off, but in Sword of Truth Richard has an army at his back, Haplo had godly powers, Ice and Fire each king has army with 1000s of knights, LoTRs they had 9 men in which 4 (well pippen was the best hobbit) really could contribute nothing to the group. Fairy tales and fantasy are different. And there are other books out there that show just as much struggle for survive as LoTRs (i have only read 5 series) but i have yet to read, its just you people are being a little to biased in your favoritism toward tolkien to really take notice. My opionion is for the fantasy readers of today and for the younger audience (25 and under) LoTRs just isnt as appealing. And I still think if we read everything clean slate and didnt know who wrote what or when, LoTRs would not be the most widely liked. Shakespeare is a good writer and even though I havent read much Stephen King I think he is better (as if thats a surprise).
October 12th, 2000, 11:26 AM
I'd agree that reading LOTR is fairly comparable to reading other series that have been written more recently. However, I disagree strongly with your position that he is not head and shoulders above almost all other writers. For starters, the basic tool of the trade for an author is the english language. No one else that I have read commands this as well as Professor Tolkien. The mastery of the basics is what sets Tolkien apart. Add to this the creation of a whole new genre, a far more detailed and original world than most of his successors, a plot that nearly everyone can identify with, and you have yourself an author that even the literary snobs of the world will recognize as a master, even though they pour scorn on most fantasy writers.
However, I don't think LOTR is his greatest work. The Silmarillion is the work that truly stands out to me. In this light, I place Tolkien on the same level as Homer and perhaps even somewhat higher. For Homer took mythology and added it to his own world. Tolkien took humanity and added it to a mythical world. I've not yet read anything else in the fantasy genre that encompasses such a breadth of scope and grandeur, and can create such depth of response in such a quick time. For this I cast my vote Tolkien as the true master of fantasy.
With all due respect to Weis & Hickman, they're not in the same class of author. Which isn't to say you can't be held spellbound by them or feel strongly about their characters. It's simply that they've taken dungeons and dragons and thrown a story into the mix, in much the same way that star wars books attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movies. *shrug* As much as they are undeniably good authors, for their niche, they are not 'great' authors. IMHO
October 12th, 2000, 01:38 PM
Also, you must examine Tolkien in the time and social/literary context for when his work was created. Let's face it, the closest thing to high fantasy out there at the time was Aesops's Fables. Tolkien was THE PIONEER of modern fantasy. Everyone may have differing opinions on who is the "best" fantasy writer, but most will have to admit, Tolkien was the first - First fantasy writer, First world builder, First to capture the essence of what is the fantasy genre. There were other works before Middle Earth; fairy tales, fables, folklore, Camelot, Beowulf just to name a few; but none truly displayed all the elements of a fantasy work prior to Tolkien's Middle Earth saga. Do I think Tolkien is the best fantasy writer that there ever was? No, I think his work is interesting and a great piece of literature, but IMO not my favorite or the best. However, I do greatly respect and admire the work for what it is and what it has meant to the fantasy genre as a classic fantasy tale and a groundbreaking literature work.
October 12th, 2000, 03:03 PM
A servant of Lord Arioch
Ok, people, new discussion... what is the best color, i think red is the best color.
And i can't understand people who think blue is the best, certainly not yellow or green.
Red was there first.
October 12th, 2000, 06:14 PM
You are doing the thing I said you are doing, being biased. I know Tolkien was the first, i know he had to basically start from scratch, but taking all of that out of the account is he really the best? Death Gate cycle isnt my favorite fantasy, its just the seriens that made me change my opionion on Tolkien. For instance, imagine being locked in a literal hell for some 20-odd years since you were born, being alone, running and fighting for your life every second of everyday. You never really got close to anyone, because your own people told you being too close to anyone could be the death of you. Now imagine you are free from that prison, with the hatred of a certain group so boggled up inside of you if you hear their name you cringe. Imagine going into the a world not being able to reveal your powers in, having to deal with entitys you consider less than fleas, and then ultimately be-friending some and helping in their own personal struggles even though all yoru life you were told to only help yourself. Imagine meeting your archenemy who send your entire people to hell and you two befriend each other.. not only that but become best friends. And you guys tell me all this about LoTRs as its real in-depth and world building, but the struggle is pretty one-dimensional. From beginning to end the whole plot is to destory the ring and not let Sauron or his minions get it. The biggest inner struggle i can think of in LoTRs is Frodo's struggle to continue with severe hunger. I judge books based on how good of a story it is. Charactors are very imporant, but "world-building" comes distant in my mind because if you dwell too much into that it takes away from the story. My opionion LoTRs is a fairy tale, Death Gate is a fantasy.. a vastly underrated fantasy.
October 12th, 2000, 08:50 PM
Obviously, an individual's ability to fully appreciate any particular author relies on his or her ability to fully grasp the deeper, subtle nuances of that author's writing.